Caucasian grease boxes


Gun parts need to be oiled from time to time, which in the XIXth century was often done with grease (animal, usually cow fat), also used to grease paper cartridges. Because of this, many chose to carry a small box containing supply of fat; in Caucasus it would be hanging, together with the rest of similar equipment, on the warrior’s belt. Most of these boxes were strictly utilitarian, made from low grade silver, covered with crude niello or engravings – and very few of them actually survived. High class boxes, such as the ones shown here, are even more rare. Very few were made in the first place, and from those even fewer survived. They are almost never encountered by collectors, and even major museums do not have them: they are small and in the XIXth century collectors preferred to go after larger items. Even is such a piece were to be donated to a museum, it is unlikely to be as strongly appreciated as similarly decorated long sword or dagger – despite tremendous rarity of these objects. So here we have four high end “fat” boxes, as they are often called, courtesy of one of the most important private Collections. It would be interesting to demonstrate how these can be appraised by using the method proposed by us in Arms and Armor of Caucasus.

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Circassian Kindjals

A sample Chapter from my book, Arms and Armor of Caucasus:

…. I could have combined this chapter with the previous one, on kindjals of Western Caucasus, especially as I already included a few Circassian examples there (Figs. 172–173). As I will show, Circassians used essentially the same blades as in Western Georgia, except for Dagestani exports (Figs. 174–175), which were never as popular in Megrelia or Imerethia. However, keeping in mind the profound importance of the Circassian tradition, and that Circassian kindjals evolved in a very different way than those of Megrelia, dedicating a separate chapter to them is appropriate…

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Collecting, or how to start

In its basic form,  art appreciation is a reaction that occurs in certain parts of one’s brain, pon exposure to something perceived as a true work of art. Therefore, the first step that I would recommend any connoisseur to be: if you are interested in a particular subject, start by exposing yourself to the best work, in the best condition.

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Аукционы, взгляд изнутри (in Russian)

В интернете аукционы характеризуют по разному, но в основном с некой аурой пренебрежительности – то ли цены рассчитаны на неопытных, но богатых коллекционеров-олигархов, толи продаются одни подделки, толи все сделано в интересах «сами знаете кого», правда как и в каждой конспирологической теории, кого именно не совсем ясно, но подразумевается, что явно не в интересах хороших людей. Какова же реальность аукционной жизни? Будучи немного знакомым и с «внутренней» и с «внешней» стороной проведения аукционов, позволю себе краткое изложение моего личного взгляда на данный феномен.

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What is it like being a researcher in Arms and Armor?

For those considering the path, all I can say is – congratulations!
The good news is that you are embarking on an effort which can be fun, and intellectual, will in due time reveal to you much about yourself, and can evolve into many things, including historical research per se. My condolences as well: you will waste a lot of money, make a lot of mistakes and will deal with the nastiest crowd, i.e. fellow researchers. In all aspects, research in arms and armor is not that different from theoretical physics (minus math) or psychology (except you have to deal with experiments post factum).

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